As he takes his Alternative, Fact tour across the UK, the man behind sitcom Meet the Magoons and one-man show The Nearly Naked Chef picks the late funnywoman as his comic idol
Glasgow is a city built on laughter. Whilst I'm sure Scousers and Mancs might think they hail from the hinterland of hilarity, most impartial observers know that The Weegies will always win the war of wit. For my generation of Glaswegians (and all that follow) there stands alone a single heroic, comedic figure. Billy Connolly inspired us all: in many ways he has been elevated beyond the realms of mere 'Comedy Hero'. I think of him more as The Messiah of Mirth. And his praises have been oft and well deservedly sung.
But Victoria Wood is my comedy hero. For anyone who loves language and worships words, Wood was the woman for you. Her ability to watch the world and present it back to us was astonishing; she somehow managed to satirise social class structures without us even being aware of it! The sheer range of her output was breathtaking: sketch, sitcom, musicals, plays, films as well as live comedy. A prolific polymath, if ever there was one.
We have a saying in writing: 'make the epic intimate, and the intimate epic'. This daughter of an insurance salesman from Lancashire took what seemed to be the mundane and made it meaningful as well as hilarious. And although she wrapped her primetime TV performances in the tropes of light entertainment, it's worth remembering that she pushed boundaries. 'The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's Do It)' was more than a little risqué and sexually suggestive; what's more it was sung by a woman at 9pm on BBC2 over 30 years ago.
It's difficult to overstate the achievements of Victoria Wood. Suffice to say that so honest were her observations, so brilliantly funny was her delivery, that a wee brown boy in Glasgow was inspired.
Hardeep Singh Kohli: Alternative, Fact is on tour until Saturday 28 April.